Second Hand Clothes, First-Class Style

While most retail stores are hanging on by a thread due to COVID-19’s assault on the U.S. economy, thrift stores, specifically consignment stores, are having the opposite problem. Business is booming! According to, a major secondhand shopping site, the resale apparel market will grow from $28 billion to $64 billion in the next five years.

kids clothes on consignment rack

A consignment store is a type of resale shop where instead of relying on donations, people bring in items they wish to sell on the secondary market. When the items sell the shop and seller share in the sale, often  50-50 split. Consignment shops can sell clothing, home goods, art, furniture, and even books. However, apparel is the most popular category.

Consignment shopping is an excellent way to purchase and also sell gently worn (often new) children’s and baby clothes for less than one-third of the retail price. And most cities now have specialty consignment shops for babies, children, and teens.

Expect a consignment shop to have very high standards for what they will accept. Here’s an example: Must be a current style, must be brought in clean, and must have no visible wear, holes, or stains.

Typically, your items will be put on the sales floor and displayed for 30 to 60 days. Once sold, you will receive 30 to 50 percent of the purchase price depending on that store’s policy.

Most consignment shops have a process by which they reduce the sales price regularly until the item is sold or the time runs out. At that time you have the option of either picking up your items or agreeing to have the shop donate them to a charity.

Stores will often give you the choice of taking your proceeds outright or crediting it to your own store account. Most people discover that building their accounts to allow for shopping in the store is the best option. In this way, money rarely changes hands.

Have you ever paid a lot of money for an outfit only to find you don’t like it after all? Who hasn’t?  But then feel reluctant to part with clothes you paid a lot for and never wore for one reason or another? Consignment shopping solves the problem.

The first step is to let go of the guilt and get rid of the clothes. When you start buying your clothes at consignment stores, that guilt is never there. If you decide you don’t like something you bought, take it back and consign it. You didn’t pay much for it in the first place and you can use the money you get from consigning it to buy something else.

If you don’t have a consignment store in your town, check out the nearest big city the next time you’re there. Even if you make a trip once or twice a year to clean out your closet, it will be worth the effort.

These days there’s no reason you should feel compelled to spend a large percentage of your income on new clothes. Let your kids see all the great bargains at a consignment store. Even your teens will be impressed, provided you scope out the best stores ahead of time.

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